Friday, June 22, 2012

Tarnished Rules

Today is more of an Opinion piece than just thoughts from Bible reading.

Have you seen/heard what happened to the Greece, New York, school bus monitor? A group of middle school students verbally abused her as they rode to school one morning.  Videos were made, and posted on YouTube. They went viral.  One contribution site was set up with a goal of $5,000 to send the monitor on vacation.  As of Thursday evening it was reported the donations had reached close to $200,000.

She has been interviewed on the national media.  One ‘expert’ said the problem with the children was:
We're not setting the importance of cultural rules, that you treat each other with decency and respect, that cruelty is wrong and punishable.
How can we set importance of cultural rules when they are argued over by adults? The cultural rules that existed while I grew up are gone.

The culture I was raised in allowed the Jewish Ten Commandments to be placed on walls in courtrooms and classrooms. They have been removed.  That same culture allowed Christian Bibles to be in courtrooms and a teacher could have it in the classroom. That culture allowed punishment, too. My parents applied corporal  punishment, their hand to my bottom or a slap to my hand. I was very aware that a similar punishment would be applied should I be punished at school.

Of course, there were other cultures in America that were not similar to the Bible belt where I was raised. “The Blackboard Jungle” of 1955 gave us a taste of where our country was headed, and has now reached, where there is neither respect nor punishment.

Removed from courtrooms are the words:

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 KJV)

Rude language, even cursing is proclaimed to be freedom of speech. To stifle it is deemed illegal.  Children are encouraged to express themselves as they please, to speak back to authority. Teachers can no longer refer to the Golden Rule:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 KJV)

This is not limited to Christianity and could be taught as the ethic of reciprocity without mentioning religion – treat others as we would like to be treated. We’re not even teaching the negative – don’t treat people the way you don’t want to be treated.

Perhaps these teens have never heard the Torah or the New Testament:

…  thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself …  (Leviticus 19:18 KJV)

… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:39 KJV)

Where should respect be taught and punishment given? If your answer  is ‘At home,’ that’s half right.  As adults, they will not be spending as much time at home as they will moving around in our society, within our culture, within our neighborhood. Would we want these children as friends? Co-workers? Employees?

What changes can we make to our culture now so this is not repeated? Or do we ignore the problem – as has been done in too many places?

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